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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 7, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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such important reform is, members of the afghan government in the last few weeks? >> there has been an increase over the last year, no question. it was not as prevalent at all back in 2005 in 2007, although a couple of likely cases. 2008 it picked up. nine and 10, you do see uptick afford that has been used more often. or has occurred more frequently. >> my last question, and it really is in a way i'm sure others will follow up with to some extent or another. it's about fundamental quality of the afghan forces. i know you share the responsibility for the field performance with general rodriquez, and one of the other three-star commands in afghanistan because he is partnering with his nato units and those afghan forces in the field. but nontheless, from your role in this process, how would you answer the basic question to the afghan pashtun -- afghan national army fight? can you give us anecdotes, get a
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sense of how that's going? you're aware as we all are that former marine big west has written an important book this year, and i'm sure a lot of individual anecdotes are informative but he is convinced the afghans don't fight, and i want to make sure we hear loud and clear from the it your impression that question. >> if you just want to look at casualty figures, you know, i think that in itself proves the afghan security force, police and army are in the fight and are, in fact, taking very substantial losses both in terms of killed and wounded. and those two security forces. so they're very much engaged in the part of the effort. general rodriquez and i sit down every single week, and talked for about an hour about the development of the security force and how it is performing in a few. i can also gain a bit better appreciation for what a just and we need to make. once a month we do a deliver process where we bring the two staffs together and walk through, and what we have done
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is that these forces today are far more superior, better than we -- better than we produce three or four years ago. we know for a fact that if you want to make a policeman or a soldier confident in what they are doing, you've got to instill in them the skills to where they feel they are, in fact, very capable and confident in what they are doing. for a variety of reasons, before november 2009, it was not a requirement to qualify on your weapon to graduate from army training. for a multitude of reasons. but today that's in fact the requirement. same with police training. we now actually ensure they can shoot actually with her individual weapon when they go through the training programs. the training programs have been expanded to where we have also now brought in far more greater professionals to work with the military and police professionals, police professionals i can't read down here who is my senior please advise her from the canadian royal mounted police. who has worked with me over the
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last year and a half. those kind of folks interacting with the police and army that are coming at a training base today truly have helped instill in the much greater sense of confidence in what they're able to do and what they can accomplish. and we see that in the performance out in a few. general rodriquez will be first to tell you that the units coming out today are far more are prepared, equipped and able to india to engage in combat and do it in a very tactical manner that is done very effectively than perhaps what he saw himself when he got there, you've come in 2009. so there is an improvement of current. they getting better and we are encouraged because he has done a lot more partnering. i can come every time you take some kind of international partner and put them with the afghan at counterpart to where we can help develop and professionalize them, that's always better, to. >> thank you. let's go to the crowd. please stand, identify yourself
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and ask short clear questions. start here with david. the microphone is coming. >> i'm david would from "huffington post." general, thanks for coming here today. a quick data point. what is the attrition rate for the ana? secondly, as you know what's gripping washington this week is the obama administration's deliberations about how fast and how many troops to pull out of afghanistan. what is the relationship between what you are doing and his ability to pull extra troops out? and can you tell us anything about the combat readiness, the unit you are graduating, to take the lead in securing the operations? >> a couple of questions there. what i get a first of all, the combat readiness today is the best it's ever been. after we go through training what we do is we in fact bring in the ijc, the operational force, a special team, and they
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do a test and assessment ever of the unit before we actually turn it over to them. and so that is a joint assessment of those units, and they are great and the ratings they're getting are the highest that i've seen in the past two years i've been in afghanistan. so, clearly the program, the system that nato training has put into place and the support that we have had with advisors and equipment and everything else is really having a real difference. as far as the attrition rate in the afghan national army goes, it's right at about, again, as monthly an annualized, you do annual is, you are probably about to .3% right now. this past month, month of april, the major issues coming in but the april data was 1.8%. but again, at three so i think it's important to talk about an annualized basis over 12 months is about 2.3%. so it has come down slightly. we i think the minister will
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tell you he wants to bring it down a little more himself. which is good. but this is much more sustainable today than it was last summer when it was up about 2.8% annualized. so that has been a downward trend. if it's enough, not quite enough. but it is moving in the right direction. the trends are positive and whether moving right now. >> just to clarify before you get to the other big question, a big question of our troops. 2.3% a month means about 30% a year, right? and that means about a third of the force is leading even when they're not supposed to because there's only about a third of the forces reaching the end of their tour. you are saying in addition to that fact, one dursley and when they're not even yet supposed to? >> right. and what's happened is the president of afghanistan made a decision that even if you go awol and decide you want to come back, there's no penalty and you come back and rejoin the force. every six months about a
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thousand young men come back and rejoin the force. that had been awol. we don't subtract that off the attrition numbers. we understand exactly what the real attrition is. even though we do if you want to add that thousand i get it would reduce it by about four-tenths of a percent at least, if not more. so there are a lot to come back. and again, that's why we continue to stay very close to what the attrition rates are and why did they occur. because of the number that keep coming back and then continue to serve. we continue to track wanted to come back. is a lead? we find, most of them stay and continue surfing for a fairly long period of time, and the time period we've been tracking this. so we see a positive thing there. >> do want to touch on the question of how me forces president obama might bring home? >> well, what our mission is to
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enable the afghan security force to take the lead for security. and so, we will, in fact, fill the last in august, 800 minute or so. they call them -- that will be filled this august. at the same time we will continue building the forces. those are not yet been built but this is -- it's like chairman levin tall before, he chose your the ticket to transition, the mission you're going to take on when you get there. and it does become that, because the reason the coalition forces have been there is to set the conditions so that it does enable the afghans to be able to take the lead for security in the country to help insurgencies, and to reduce the possibility of this becoming a safe haven for, you know, some sort of threat forced develop it again with of afghanistan. and that is occurring. in a case like mike said a second ago, really around the
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end of 2012 when we will have really got the force fairly well field in the structure, we haven't built to get where own at 296,000 of the 305,000 that has been internationally recognized today, so we are still building this forces today. we also recognize that there has been impressed to grow into a 350,000 which means we have about another 45, 50,000 more to go beyond that. which we would do over the next year, meaning around october of 2012 we would have that forcefully recruited, would not finish training it until the end of 2012 into early 2013. >> okay. spent we're leaving this discussion at this point agency in its entirety on our website at as we go live now to the south lawn of the white house this morning were president obama and
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first lady michelle obama are welcoming the german chancellor, german chancellor angel doescher angela merkel. they are also set to meet on foreign policy security and economic issues. that is in just about an hour or so and then they'll hold it joint press conference that is set for 11:35 which he will be able to see on c-span. coverage will continue tonight as the president and first lady will host a state dinner in honor of chancellor merkel. that will begin at 5:45 eastern, and then later at eight we will host an official visit by the german chancellor. all of that on our companion network c-span. ♪ ♪
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states, and mrs. michelle obama. ♪ ♪ [background sounds] [background sounds]
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[background sounds] [background sounds] [background sounds] >> ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem of the federal republic of germany, followed by the national anthem of the united states.
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[background sounds] >> good morning, everybody. good morning. >> chancellor merkel, members of the german delegation, on behalf of michelle and myself, it is our great pleasure to welcome you back to the white house. and on behalf of the american people, it is our great honor to welcome you back to the united
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states. [applause] >> [inaudible] >> today marks the first official visit and state dinner for a european leader during my presidency. it's only fitting the transatlantic alliance is the cornerstone, is the heart of our efforts to promote peace and prosperity around the world. in germany, at the heart of europe, is one of our strongest allies, and chancellor merkel is one of my close e global partners -- closest global partners.
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[speaking german] >> our alliance at its core is a partnership between our peoples. the generations of german-americans who helped build a strong america. the americans who, during a long, cold war, helped to defend a free germany. and citizens of both our countries -- entrepreneurs, innovators, students, scientists and soldiers -- who worked together and forged the future every day.
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[speaking german] >> at a time when some have asked whether the rise of new global powers means the decline of others, this visit reaffirms an enduring truth; our alliances with nations like germany are more important than ever. indeed, they're indispensable to global security and prosperity. [speaking german]
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>> as two of the largest and most dynamic economies, the united states and germany can show that the prosperity we seek is best achieved when nations invest in our greatest resource, our people. and their ability to compete and innovate in the 21st century. [speaking german] >> as members of the most successful alliance in human history, our commitment to our common defense is also a pillar of global security.
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from completing our mission in afghanistan, to preventing terrorist attacks, to achieving our vision of a world without nuclear weapons. [speaking german] >> and finally, as people around the world imagine a different future, the story of germany and our alliance in the 20th century shows what's possible in the 21st. wars can end, adversaries can become allies, walls can come down. at long last, nations can be whole and can be free. [speaking german]
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>> madam chancellor, the arc of our lives speaks to this spirit. it's obvious that neither of us looks exactly like the leaders who preceded us -- [laughter] [cheers and applause] but -- but the fact that we can stand here today as president of the united states and as chancellor of a united germany is a testament to the progress, the freedom that is possible in our world. [speaking german]
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[speaking german] >> chancellor merkel, members of the german delegation, we are honored to have all of you here as allies, as partners, but most of all as dear friends. [speaking german] [cheers and applause] [speaking german]
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[speaking german] >> translator: mr. president, dear barack, michelle, mr. vice president, members of the cabinet, guests of honor, my fellow countrymen, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for this very warm and very moving reception. it is overwhelming. i am, indeed, delighted, and i say this on behalf of all the members of my delegation to be back in washington, d.c. again. [speaking german]
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>> translator: about 20 months ago, and this was almost some 20 years after the fall of the berlin wall, i had the great honor and privilege to address most both houses of congress, a wonderful moment. and i'm certain this day today shall be another such unforgettable moment. [speaking german] >> translator: mr. president, receiving the presidential medal of freedom from you tonight is something that i consider to be not only an exceptionally gesture of appreciation, and i see this as a gesture of appreciation for the whole
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united germany. it is also a testimony of the very, very close ties that bind our two countries together. [speaking german] [speaking german] [speaking german] >> translator: we germans know
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that america has always been a true friend to us. our friendship has grown and matured throughout the decades, and every day it is filled with new life. more than 600,000 americans are working for german companies here in the united states, and the reverse is also true, more than 600,000 germans work for american companies in germany. there are many and diverse exchange programs at schools and universities, and they help us to win over new young people to serve as bridge builders between our two countries. seventeen million members of the armed forces of the united states and their families have lived in germany ever since the second world war, and they have served their country with honor and distinction and rendered an inestimable service to their country and to us. the more than 50,000 american soldiers who are currently stationed in germany are more than welcome every day.
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[speaking german] [speaking german] >> translator: i could mention many more examples of the close ties that bind our two countries together, but let me underline one thing in particular. when germany and europe were divided by the wall and barbed wire, america consistently stood on the side of freedom and resolutely stood by us germans as we made our way towards unity and freedom, and this we shall never forget. [applause] [speaking german]
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[speaking german] [speaking german] >> translator: today we are just as closely linked to each other by the bonds of friendship as we
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were 20 years ago. we are standing on a firm foundation and standing and supported by this firm foundation we tackle the current challenges we both face. germany and the united states are partners, sharing responsibility for a peaceful and stable afghanistan. we are pulling in the same direction, trying to keep iran from following it course of developing a nuclear forces capability. in north africa we support the struggle for freedom, and in the middle east we support efforts to fill the peace process with new life. together we master the aftershock of the global, economic and financial crisis. yes, germany and the united states do share the same values; democracy and freedom, rule of law and the universality of human rights.
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[speaking german] >> translator: and it is for this very reason that a close partnership with the united states is just as much part and parcel of germany's ray son deat the as is integration. both belong together, both are and remain the pillars of german foreign policy. >> mr. president, dear barack, in perlin in 2008 you -- in berlin in 2008 you spoke to more than 200,000 people, and in your address you said america has no better partner than europe. and now it's my turn to say europe and germany have no better partner than america. thank you. [applause] [cheers and applause]
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>> life from the south lawn of the white house this morning, the arrival of german chancellor angela merkel in this country for talks with the president this morning. here's how the day will unfold for the chancellor and president obama. angela merkel is welcomed by president obama and first lady michelle obama.
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>> you can find out more about the official visit by chancellor merkel on her website we can to the schedule for her visit and that's a while we're looking at the u.s. capitol where the u.s. senate will gavel in in about half an hour, and lawmakers will start with general speeches before they turn to legislative business at 11:30. a measure on usage fees for bank debit cards. the senate will break and resume work on -- at that time did you can see the senate live here on c-span2. coming up later today online at, look at the 2008 financial collapse and the role played by prominent lending and mortgage companies and in and freddie mac.
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>> yesterday the number two commander in afghanistan said he expects the government of that country to announce more areas for transition to afghan controlled by august. lieutenant general david rodriguez said the u.s. will not chase transition in afghanistan. during a briefing on the status of the war effort he spoke via videoconference at an event hosted by the center for a new american security. this is just over an hour. >> ladies and gentlemen, the most important work in any conference tends to happen in between sessions, and weand we appreciate that by that standard this conference is a veryo successful. yurwe are deeply honored to have with us today at least in avatar form, lieutenant general davidt rodriguez, as the keynot
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speaker of our fifth annualnual conference. general rodriquez assume comman of the international security assistance force jointo commandt or ijc, in october 2009. he is joining us today from for, lewis washington what he is helping lieutenant general ike or get ready to assume operational responsibility forss the mission in afghanistan later this year. the tenor general rodriquez as . proud member of the famed west point class of 1976, which has done so much to help end the wars we are currently fighting. >> and during operation just cause. going the subject of asking
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understand -- afghanistan 2011, a perspective and then the internet cooperate, he will take question. over to you, sir. >> good morning. everybody, and john, thank you very much for that kind introduction. and for the invitation to speakr before this distinguished audience. i apologize for not being thereb in peerson. as you stated currently i am in. washington state at -- conducting training to prepare i core, and the afghan -- i'msory, sorry, the european rapidean reaction corps for their upcoming deployment to coror thr afghanistan. andco my friend will take my ple in commander of the isaf jointct command this summer. we have done this several times e commands, division command, and
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i feel sorry, but he keeps getting stuck with the mess that i leave but i know he'll do a great job. i'd also like to recognize members of the cf team. john kerry thank you for inviting me. you've been a practical server and commentator on this mission can see now cnas. afghanistan for pakistan in iraq for the marines and thanks to you also for your leadership. you clearly understand challenges we face in afghanistan. lieutenant general retired classmate and close friend, the first officer of the coalition command in afghanistan back in
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2003. thank you for charging of course in afghanistan that has opened the door and courting myself. the former army ranger search of both iraq and afghanistan. you know the ground situation, what goes on there. it is great year here and in short the cnas team is definitely afghanistan strong. okay, this path goes this morning. i will give you a short overview of the operational plan from now until 2014 and discuss in more detail where we are currently in that plan. i'll tell you what i think is going well and what worries me. i went with a brief comment on what they think the future is regard to transition, driving down 2014 and beyond. so first, what does the campaign the click? well, our object has remained the same. to deny al qaeda sanctuaries and prevent the taliban from
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retaking afghanistan. and by the way, the death of osama bin laden has not changed that ashamed and we have not seen any effect to his death on the ground to date in afghanistan. next slide, please. the unique foundation of this plan is threefold. on key areas, prioritization of multiple lines of operation, an approach that very much assembles with the activity. with regard to the focus on critical terrain, the population centers, commerce was a matter of necessity an operation that had never been lavishly resourced. i remind everyone to peek at troop deployment in the p. cost of operations in afghanistan was
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two thirds of the troops deployed in iraq and 100 -- two thirds the cost of iraq operations for a country 1.5 times the size of iraq. now the effect this focus has had on key terrain was that we are largely able to focus the majority of coalition and international efforts really need them and when we need them. and when we get this, our resources are sufficient and i can't over emphasize what a idea that the vent to our effort. since the peace operations decade of the 1990s, we have long talked about the importance of the idea for, where there is no form a unity command and the progress in this regard has exceeded expectations. we have managed to take the afghan security forces to focus in the right place and we have gained support of many of the
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civilian neck turns to direct their terrific people and programs where they need to hold key terrain that has been cleared. by making a big deal about key terrain can we have given specifics to anchor on. in this focus, we have made explicit the building block of the district. this is where the people see their government, and action or not in action. they are important as they party said. this does not apply to the province or kabul are not important, but this is a row insert the good of the challenges lined the village and the first line of assistance for the villagers is the different government. now, there are those who think we do too much when we focus on defense. but there is no real alternative for the reason i just said. this key terrain construct is
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perfect? well, of course not, but nothing ever is. with regard to sequencing and prioritizing length of operation, the plaintiff made very explicit plans and attempted to correct some challenges from the past. some practices actually made the situation worse. as you know, we have incredible developments all over the place and want more children out of school at more reasonable, the security situation declaimed. then we have more troops and resources and cleared areas much more days, only to have to clear over and over again. now we are much better off. we spend the bulk of our military effort on to creating or insurgent infrastructures to include the leadership, but we also ensure the planning for the security and good governance begins early enough to be
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inserted and follow on this unit conditions allow. we have made real progress with their civilian counterparts, both in the afghan government and international community to sequence and synchronize these efforts. thanks a lot. finally, underpinning the execution of this plan is the recognition that absence of sweeping political settlement, the best chance of stabilizing afghanistan is to mobilize people to demand the fulfillment of their modest requirements. now this is dependent on the connection of the good government to the reliable security forces and to the people. and when all three legs of that school for the trinity work together, from the bottom, with a little help from the top, we will squeeze out enough of the enemy of the afghan people to build sufficient stability for afghanistan in the future. now you can see from the weight
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of the air is on the chart what people need from kabul is indeed minimal. their destiny to be a small reliable steady flow of funding for national to local levels to fund operating costs and minimal basic services. what this also means and execution of the plan is there a young commanders on the ground have to make decisions every day about how to allocate their precious resources of time and effort. they must ensure the proper weighting between taking the fight to the enemy and strengthening communities by building capacity in connection of the good government reliable security forces and to the people. this trinity result in a spiral of popular mobilization and it works. so how has the campaign unfolded and how will it unfold? in a moment, i will highlight
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the gains we expect to achieve and i will tell you that unequivocally where we have focused our efforts in accordance with our plan, we have achieved progress every time. so if you ask me if i am hopeful that we can achieve sufficient security across the country, i am indeed. of course operational and tactical successes will take us only so far given the time constraints we believe we will be under. i will talk about more of this later. i do believe that given enough time, the tactical and ground up approach will prevail, just as it did in iran country a couple hundred years ago. now these next three slides show you the expected results of executing the plan. in other words, expanding the areas should be stable by winters and 2014.
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and by 2014, we will have fully executed operational plan and all the places that matter most. next slide. now you can see where we want to be by spring of 2012. it is important to understand what the spring brings to us because it is after a violent season in the stomach of these through the fall and in the wintertime there is a huge opportunity to continue to go the afghan capacity while the violence tapers off a little bit. and you can see they are what we want to do a six in that area down into the central helmand river valley in kandahar in the south and southwest and it continues to build a security zone outside kabul to the east and to the south. next slide. you can see on the next slide
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how that would expand over time. it is expanding everywhere throughout the country, expanding more and more to mark the afghan population and needy production centers and commerce routes. next slide. you can see in 2014 how it really starts to expand to other places the half and and us believe will create enough stability to stabilize the entire country of afghanistan and it does not have to be everywhere as you can be. you can see we will fight on in the east and frankly the east will be the toughest part of the tough neighborhood that will be afghanistan for a long time. i won't go in detail in the plan of 2014 right now if this is the purview of furniture commanders and could change. as we are all fond of saying come in the has about and nowhere is that more true than in afghanistan, given the
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volatile region in which it resides. i will talk about where we are in operation only. and by the way, let me know hope is not a vested, popped in to senator has been a setback. the name of the plan was hope and i assure you that the afghans have seen the plan not because it is dependent on the lettuce prayer and hope, although my experiences that never. but because the plan will result in greater hope in the heads and hearts of the afghan people, hope for a better future that is more akin to what they observe happening in the rest of the world. and believe me, they do know what is going on outside the boundaries of afghanistan. now we started in the central helmand river valley, number 100 as it was the nexus of the narcotics industry that feels insurgency and the insurgency is strongest hold.
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our pakistani part is called the taliban central. that was last year. this year after a very successful when you campaign, we see the central river valley near stable but the insurgents ability and capability drastically reduced and pushed a small pocket on the edges of the central helmand river valley and in the northern helmand river valley. this year our main effort is in kandahar and connect in kandahar and it's a magnet to the central helmand river valley, which is linked between one and two. and i will talk about carbonara as an example of what is happening in around kandahar as well as the central helmand valley. it is outside of kandahar that
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has been a attack places the first in the coalition went in and state. in july 2009, are good and was a taliban stronghold and people could not move around without fear. in early january 2011, the district governor was killed. the district police chief was wounded by an ied so he couldn't continue to serve in his payment. there were no government officials present except the district governor and a tea maker and the police were not present among the people. the district center was described by many as jesse combat out post because all it did was defend itself. i was just a recently and the change has been incredible. there were more than 16 government employees working within the district governor.
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there was a new police chief whose police force was visible, present among the people and responsive to those people. and there is a local sheriff that represents the people and holds their governments accountable to those people. and the locals on a friday afternoon afghan family time i routes enabled to pick nick temirkanov river valley. a significant change from 18 months ago. now the activities occurring are examples of what are happening across the country where we are focusing our efforts. kabul city, number three on the mount, home to one fifth of the afghan population is one of the safest places in afghanistan. the afghan security forces are in the league for security throughout the city, proving their afghan security part cursor up to the challenge of
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increasing not only quantity, but quality. now we are continuing to expand the kabul security zone for the east in the south and in the east we have seen gains in discrete areas in jalalabad, kandahar which is four on the map as well as send word back, just south of kabul city. these contain the most difficult human terrain and many of you know, gc cannot just transferred authority for the region that the first division. where jc was able to do what dan is the ipod is truly incredible. the afghans the same you can carry 200 notes in one hand. i believe we are attempting to do just that and it's pretty remarkable. still we have a way to go in the east and nowhere will the afghan security forces be challenged
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more. next slide. up in the north, just last week we lost an influential afghan leader, regional police chief general david as well as the provincial chief of police in several coalition force members. these are friends in the picture on the screen. our regional commander, marcus tonight was wounded and is recovering at home in germany and will return soon. we expect this kind of attacks to continue. the taliban cannot expect to regain territory. so right now they are attempting to degrade to trust the coalition and afghan sending each other through insider attacks as well as to intimidate the people in hopes of making them believe that their government cannot detect them.
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but so far, the partnerships remain strong and in many places, the people are eyeing the fact that the government cannot protect them. and regional command north, determined team was back very publicly coming meeting with general present another afghan security force leadership two days after the her thick attack. in kandahar several weeks ago, after the same type of horrific attack, the very next day after the simultaneous won't roll in effect to the tax. , the residents resumed their normal activity. next slide. now, our security activities in the north have focused on the kunduz carter, number five on
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your map. this area is an intensely populated section that includes two main commerce routes. we have focused our efforts on expanding a secure area around the intersection and increasing the freedom of movement in that area. number six on the map is also very important because that is the last place to be completed on the ring road. as a result of regional command west, spring operations are making progress there. we have paid significant security gains enough area that will allow this to be completed in the future. arrived, number seven on the map as a city largely free and ready to initiate the transition process their afghan leadership this summer. yes, there was an attack this past week, but the afghan
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security forces did not allow the enemy to reach their intended target and this is a trend that we are seeing more in her across tree. the increasing desire and ability of the police and army to take their own security challenges, rendering the insurgent attacks increasingly enough that this. now last year was the implementation of a plan for synchronization and the neocons of understanding of the required approach. we have proven that where we, the coalition in the afghan, the coalition in the afghan, the coalition in the afghan, the coalition in the afghan. next slide. so where are we? progress in achieving our objectives, making afghanistan a place inhospitable to terrorists is indisputable there remains fragile. there is no doubt the afghan security forces have grown in
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quantity and quality. growth remains and a schedule with more than 284,000 afghan security forces across the country. since 2009, there has been a 50% increase in the number of afghans security forces and today in key areas across the country, the vast majority of the afghan security forces are partnered closely with isaf and there is no doubt they can and will fight in their operational effectiveness and destroying the enemy and protect people. our partnership has given afghan leaders like general carini, chief of the general staff pictured on the mac side and his leaders at every level and his units at every level the courage to confidently use ghost beard he had been developed new ones. next slide.
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that's general carini addressing some of his afghan soldiers. if you can see the look of confidence in his afghan soldiers icily tax across the country, you couldn't help but be impressed. and i always fan. next slide. there's also no doubt that the government presents physics and being. there is no doubt that afghanistan contains the required elements and irreversible progress. but if human capacity to meet the afghan needs, an immense source of income for natural resources in regional transit. afghan national security forces are on track to assume the lead and largely the right government initiatives in place. i want to return for a moment to
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me first point on the subject. the single most encouraging factor throughout my time in afghanistan has been the human capacity of the afghan people. their resiliency after more than 30 years of conflict is remarkable. over the years, i have met many inspiring leaders in people. they are tough and determined and have a sense of humor and graciousness to those who respect them. i am not ashamed to say that i generally write and respect many afghan people. while we are not there to make friends, it's hard to believe the most important resources and a country, organization or nation had a sound in a country to which we have devoted many of our most precious resources. next slide. as is often the case, the
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greatest strengths can quickly turn to weaknesses in the resilience of the people more to his survival attitude that is not healthy. the people have formed habits to keep them alive in the face of terror and this often means they won't stand against members of the taliban for whom they have very little affinity. now there were other things that worry me. i am concerned about a chart on that is not totally aligned with trying afghan capabilities. was so rapid can you please make mistakes or temporary relief caps. while not critical in and of themselves make the people's shaky confidence waver and their survival instincts rose to the forefront. now if this happens, the taliban can regain a foothold among a fearful population. i am also concerned about support for the insurgency that continues to flow mostly from the every species of pakistan. the worse the problem becomes
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fair, the stronger we have to build the afghan national security forces and the communities people living. this may take more time than we have. finally, i am worried about the parochial interests of minority formally informed the leaders across afghanistan, whether they are representing their own families accumulation of wealth, there groups were in the morpheus ever shifting combination of interests have forsaken alienate the afghan citizen, this is unacceptable. the afghans together with the coalition have to start addressing these challenges were effectively. a corollary to that is we have not yet managed to strike the right balance between respecting afghan sovereignty and demanding adherence to the non-negotiable response abilities that company that poverty. essential among those responsibilities include factions to stop the leaders who
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steal money, opportunity and respect from the afghan citizens. in my mind, absolutely paramount is the demand the afghan government stop formal and informal powerbrokers who were directly harming troopers. in further support of the enemy, they don't stop and we should do that through whatever means necessary. now i will talk recently about the major movements the future brings. no answers but a description of things were grappling with. transition. transition will be conditioned based progress with one caveat will recognize the court's afghan politics will sometimes put on the ground from time to time. the afghan leadership will have a need to balance across a victim powerbroker lines. the first tranche has been select it and these are the easy ones, promises and municipalities that have been in good shape for years.
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transition tougher areas will involve thinning out of coalition forces from secure areas to be deployed. they started this top with operations to emphasize we will not choose transition. there is no faster way to dilute our efforts that we worked so hard to focus for the last several years and then do and continue to execute a plan that the afghans have developed with this is a natural outcome of the transition. the second tranche should be selected by afghan leadership in august and it is on track and it blew the plane to get the afghans in need for security by 2014 is achievable. i'm drawdown, jennifer truss calls himself a four-star action for this issue. therefore am not at liberty to discuss details and also they are not yet determined.
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at my level, i am emphasizing to the field commanders we've got to push afghan partners to start reading more and more. we have to start taking more risks in this regard and have more than none. we know as the platoon and company level, the afghans are largely capable of conducting operations with the assistance could we will win out from the bottom-up, focusing on building headquarters and eventually leaving in place critical enablers such as medical evacuation, access to joint the facts and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. finally, 314 and beyond. i spoke briefly about how i see the campaign unfolded from now until 2014. before 2014, we should have a strategic agreement in place that will offer a sharing to vote the afghan people in the
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enemy. no other details need to be worked out, but it is critical we transition our relationship from one of wartime, expedia footing to one of normalization. next slide. now this about wraps it up. i have not discussed reintegration at the afghan local police programs posed accelerants and a part of growing confidence on the part of the afghan will. and now i am happy take questions on these topics with others who are interested in. thank you for coming today in thank you for your interest in afghanistan. >> thank you richard burr rodriquez. i will take the liberty of asking the first question i'm going to pick up just for you left out. you describe the class take counterinsurgency necessy >> can you talk to the reiteration efforts that people
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think are going? >> i will focus my answer on that on reintegration. and where we have had success, and where the afghan security forces and the afghan government has continued to grow in their capacity to lead their nation, where the afghan people have become mobilize because of prproving security and improving government capacity, the afghan people are ready to reintegrateh and the afghans foot soldiers have been a big part of this insurgents are ready to p reintegrate every part of thisrd that has occurred across thenit. areas we've been successful in and we're just under 2000 in a formal program, and about thems same number who are on the verge of entering that program. to grw
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in security and governance and develop it would have been more and more. as we continue to reintegrate more and more these foot soldiers into society, it's going to put a lot more pressure on the reconciliation efforts and also give us a better position from which to negotiate room. now, it is interesting when this was mentioned to president karzai, he is convinced if we can reintegrate all the local people, we won't have to be worried about reconciliation. again, that is opinion and we'll have to see how it goes in the future. it is a huge accelerants. and i started and continues to grow every month and we believe it will be huge accelerants are building momentum here and we have to be able to do that based on the growing security and governance that keeps improving throughout the country. thank you.
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>> thank you, sir. other questions? writer in the blue shirt. he sat up and identify yourself. >> i'm jake filiberto, marina 2001 and iraq 2003. thank you for your service. i am a freelance pundit in a spirit a coalition called veterans for rethinking afghanistan. so i may be a little bit different. the question is i was in afghanistan a little bit ago when i talk to minister asked graham who is in charge of the taliban and reintegration program from the afghan side and the yediot not spoken with military commanders are state department officials, which is critical. have we made appropriate steps in your opinion to connect with rtner work th >> we will leave now at this point. you can see it in the entirety on our website, beginning with general speeches, they'll turn to legislative
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business at about 11:30 . on account to date a measure on usage fees for bank debit cards. the senate will break between 11:30 - 2:15 eastern for the weekly party lunches. they will resume work at that time. now live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, source of all life, give our lawmakers this day your grace and wisdom.
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because of your grace, may they find such inner peace that it will prompt them to reach out to one another and accomplish great things for your glory. because of your wisdom, may they face today's challenges with confidence, knowing that you order the steps of good people. lord, give all who labor on capitol hill a special discernment to know and do your will. remove their strain and stress, and let their ordered lives confess the beauty of your peace. we pray in your sacred name.
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amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, june 7, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jeanne shaheen, a senator from the state of new hampshire, to perform the duties of the chai. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader.
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mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: yesterday i came to the floor to call on democrats in washington to wake up and open their eyes to the signs we see all around us that the policies of the past years are make our economy worse. home values are still falling, manufacturers are showing the weakest growth in nearly two years, nearly 14 million americans are looking for jobs and can't find them. for many there is the nagging feeling that things will actually get worse before they get better, and who can blame them. over the past two months, two ratings agencies have come out with dire warnings over the status of america's stellar credit ratings over fear that we won't get our fiscal house in order. one has already put our rating under review and the other has threatened to do so if we don't do something in a matter of weeks, literally weeks. yet democrats here in washington are doing nothing. the president is patting himself on the back for an auto bailout
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that's expected to cost the taxpayers billions, and democrats in congress would rather talk about an election that's a year and a half away. for two and a half years democrats in washington have paid lip service toed idea of job creation even as they've relentlessly pursued an agenda that is radically opposed to it and the results speak for themselves. an annual deficit three times bigger than the biggest deficit we ever ran duringe during the t administration, a national debt that this year will be greater than our nation's entire economy, chronic unemployment. but here's the other problem: democrats don't want to admit that the government-driven policies of the past taboo and a half years are -- two and a half years are part of the problem. and until they do, nothing will change. unless democrats change their priorities and their policies, the threats of a downgrade will not go away. the debt won't get any smaller, businesses won't create the kind of jobs we need to build
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prosperity. madam president, we need to change course. and a good place to start is with trade. the president himself has explicitly acknowledged in front of comof cameras that free trade agreements will create tens of thousands of jobs for american families. yet know the president's advisors say the white house plans to hold off on this bipartisan job-creating initiative unless it can spend more money a government benefits program first. at a time when 14 million americans are looking for work, they actually want to hold off on these known job-creating agreements in exchange for a green light to spend more money. truly astonishing. i mean, how do you explain to an american manufacturer or a farmer that they have to lose business to france because some member of congress wants a better benefits package for their allies in organized labor? you can't. the white house is free advocate on behalf of unions.
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that's certainly their per roughing tivment but this time it's gone really too far. when the white house is accurately depriving others of jobs because some union boss isn't getting his way, it's lost touch. so this morning i'm calling on the administration to send us the three pending trade agreements that the president himself has said would create tens of thousands of american jobs and to leave trade adjustment assistance out of it. there are 47 duplicative federal retraining programs out will for unemployed workers -- 47 of them. no one is denying or minimizing the hardships they face. but we will not allow the white house to deny one group of people the chance to get a job in order to have a bargaining chip in negotiating benefits for others. it is not fair and it is not right. we need to vaipt these issues, deal with them independently and move ahead with these trade deals. and we should also be doing even more to create jobs by moving forward with something that's
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been a cornerstone of good trade policy in this country since 1974. i'm talking about trade promotion authority. if the president is really serious about doubling u.s. exports and creating the jobs that would go along with it, he should call on congress to approve trade promotion authority and the congress should do t i would also suggest that any discussion of trade adjustment assistance be done only as part of the debate over extending trade promotion authority. that's the way it's been done for decades. trade promotion authority would give the president the ability to negotiate job-creating trade deals and allow them an exspie disieted procedure to get an up-or-down -- an expedited procedure to get an up-or-down vote in congress. without the protections afforded by trade promotion authority, congress may never consider another trade deal ever again.
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in other words, there will be no more trade agenda. american businesses want to expand and they want to hire. here's one way to help them do it that's right in front of us. there's no excuse for inaction. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask consent that the call of the quorum being terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will be in morning business for an hour with republicans controlling the first half, the majority controlling the final half. following that morning business, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 782, the economic development afnlgt the senate recess from 12:30 to 2:15 today to ayo allow for weekly caucus
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meetings. it is likely now it appears that it will be tomorrow morning when cloture is invoked. madam president, on the news this morning, as i was doing my exercise, i heard the announcement. ten years ago today president bush was -- you could hear his voice -- celebrating the tax cuts for the wealthy. he said, i know we have this huge surplus, but these moneys are the people's money and, therefore, he wanted to do something about it and he did big-time. he got -- he certainly did away with those huge surpluses we had, which amounted to trillions of dollars. he did that in a number of different ways. what president bush did is first of all we had a program that was developed during the clinton years called paygo what.
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that mont, madam president, is if you had a new program you wanted to initiative, you had to pay for it, either with new revenue or take money from an existing program to put it in that program. he worked extreme -- it worked extremely wsm that's one reason and one of the mine reasons we were ail to vellet huge surpluses we did during the clinton years. we were paying down the debt in the clinton years. some said too quickly. well, another way that the president got rid of that huge surplus was the war in iraq and the war in afghanistan. the war in iraq alone is estimated to be about $1.5 trillion, all borrowed money. now, madam president, we also know that -- how important it is to create jobs. now, we, as a result of the president finding himself -- president obama findin finding f in the huge hole that he found
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himself in as a result of the policies of the bush administration, he decided that something had to be done, and we passed what is called the economic recovery act. and it created millions of jobs and saved millions of jobs. was it enough? no. but twats best we could do because we could only get three republicans to help us on that. and they dish appreciate and always will their -- and they -- i appreciate and always will their support, senator snowe, collins and senator specter. but they were -- it was determined what we could spend within per parameters. i wish we could have done more. so we have done some things to help significantly the hole that president bush created for us. now, this congress, this congress, we've also done some things. we've focused o jobs.
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we know how important those jobs are. the f.a.a. bill, we've extended that short term 19 times. i talked to randy walker, the head of mccarran airport, the sixth-busiest airport in america. they can't let contracts for runway repairs because they only have one month -- can't do that. all kind of projects that will create thousands and thousands of jobs around american airports. it would happen if we could have the f.a.a. bill -- we passed it here. it's been held up in the big dark hole in the house of representatives. nothing has been done. we haven't been able to complete the conference on that. and 280,000 jobs that were created or saved haven't been completed. that's been months archtsz months. we have an antiquated air traffic control system in america. we wanted to improve it -- that's what it was about, saving
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and creating jobs. we felt it was important to do something about patents. senator leahy has been very faithfully reporting bills out from his committee, and we finally said, okay, let's bring it to the floor. after a lot of work, we got it done. more than six decades have lapsed and we haven't done anything with our most important -- one of the most important things we can do is protect our patent and make it better than it is. we did that here. we passed it here, sent it to the house. nothing has happened on that. they haven't voted on it. that's very unfortunate that we have not been able to get those two bills. the patent bill is 300,000 jobs. the f.a.a. bill, 280,000 jobs. that's pretty six that's a lot of jobs, madam president. and that's been held up. we know that we felt it was extremely important that we do something about jobs and we did
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that with something that has worked so successfully in the past. and that's a bill we brought to the floor to help small businesses innovate, invent and invest in new jobs. what a wonderful program it has been. we tried to get that reauthorized. it was killed here in the house by many, many amendments that had nothing, nothing, to do with the underlying bill. so we had to take that bill off the floor after having spent six weeks on the bill and having not been able to get that accomplished. we brought this bill to the floor, would help small businesses innovate, invent and invest in new jobs. republicans said no, we're not going to do that. madam president, that jobs bill was so important. the electric toothbrush was invent wad small innovation grant. many, many other examples. that's one of hundreds and hundreds. so that's really too bad, really
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too bad that we haven't been able to do something about that. the only thing we hear from the house of representatives rather than creating jobs is destroying medicare as we know it. the american people don't like that. republicans don't like it. independents don't like it. democrats don't like it. young people don't like it. old people don't like it. it's not a good piece of legislation. overwhelmingly it has been a, just a big zero. but that's what we've gotten from the house of representatives. that's our main accomplishment this year. now, my friend talked about free trade agreements. i'm not a big fan of free trade agreements. i have a voting record in accordance with that. i think if you ask people in nevada, hasn't nafta helped us a
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lot, they would just sneer and walk away. we keep talking about free trade agreements, but where is the fair part of those agreements? shouldn't we be more concern about american workers than workers in other places? i think that certainly is the case. so in keeping with the theme of jobs, i thought it was important that we do something about creating jobs. we talked about paerpbts. i talked -- we talked about patents. i talked about what we tried to do with the small jobs innovation bay. we tried to bring up e.d.a., economic development administration. madam president, this has been something that has been in effect since 1965. it's been a wonderful program. in the last five years we've invested $1.2 billion, creating more than 300,000 jobs.
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for every dollar invested, we get seven dollars of private capital. it's a pretty good tkaoefplt we wanted to -- pretty good deal. we wanted to bring that to the floor, have a debate on it, pass it, put more money in the stream of creating jobs. every $1 we invest, we have $7 that comes from the private sector. we plan to work this week on debating and reauthorizing this economic development bill which has created jobs where most needed, in economically dismore than 300,000 jobs. the republicans are stopping us from moving to it because creating jobs, it appears, is the last thing they care to do. they are more concerned about what jobs are being created in
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colombia or panama or korea than what are being created here in america. on the merits of reauthorizing this job-creating administration bill is very clear. e.d.a. works with leaders. it creates jobs from the bottom up. it helps manufacturers and producers compete in the global marketplace. i repeat, madam president, it's a great investment. seven to one is an incredible return rate. now, last night i had to file cloture on this bill. i hope -- i hope -- that we don't have to invoke cloture on this bill. we have it set up now so we can have a vote in the morning an hour after we come in. maybe during the recess that we have where our caucuses meet, maybe the republicans will be able to bring in these people that are stopping us from doing this and move to it and do
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something meaningful here on the senate floor for the rest of this day. and tomorrow, rather than invoking cloture, waiting 30 hours and doing nothing, we need to start doing things to create jobs. the tpa*eu tpa eu, the -- the f.a.a., the house killed it. we tried to do small jobs innovation, killed here in the senate. we're trao*eug now trying to to -- we're now trying to do e.d.a. we are ready to create jobs. we've done it before and we're ready to do it again. the american people are desperate for stable and secure jobs. all they ask of us is that we do our job. and we haven't been doing that because we have been prevented from doing it. why haven't we passed the f.a.a. bill? why were we stopped from moving forward with the small jobs innovation? why are we being prevented from
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moving forward on the e.d.a. bill? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the final half. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to speak until i finish my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: madam president, i rise today to speak in support of our pending trade agreements with colombia, panama and south korea. right before memorial day, the finance committee held two trade hearings. the first was on the u.s.-panama trade promotion agreement. the second was on the u.s.-korea free trade agreement. earlier the finance committee held a hearing on the
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u.s.-colombia trade promotion agreement. these agreements have been thoroughly reviewed by our finance committee. in fact, given that the colombia agreement was signed in 2006 and the panama and south korea agreements in 2007, these agreements have been more than thoroughly reviewed by u.s. elected officials and u.s. agencies over the past several years. for the sake of the u.s. economy and for the sake of our country's standing in the world, it is clearly time to take the next step. it's time for president obama to submit implementing legislation for these agreements to the congress. the u.s. trade agreements with colombia, panama and south korea are good agreements that will benefit the united states and american workers. according to the nonpartisan u.s. international trade commission, these trade agreements, once fully implemented, will likely increase u.s. exports by over $12 billion and grow the u.s.
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gross domestic product by over $14 billion. put simply, our trade agreements with colombia, panama, and south korea will boost u.s. exports, expand the u.s. economy and, thus, promote job growth in the united states. the president and members of his administration understand this. they have spoken on numerous occasions on the benefits of the u.s. trade agreements with colombia, panama, and south korea for our country. please bear with me as i review some of their statements. four months ago president obama in his state of the union address -- four months ago -- expressed his support for the u.s.-korea free trade agreement which he stated will support at least 70,000 new american jobs. he then asked congress to pass the korea agreement as soon as possible. last december president obama noted that the south korea agreement is expected to increase annual exports of american goods by up to $11 billion. in that same speech, he said i look forward to working with
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congress and leaders in both parties to approve this pact. because if there's one thing democrats and republicans should be able to agree on, it should be creating jobs and opportunities for our people. i couldn't agree more. just last month the president stated that he believes a recently announced labor action plan of colombia serves as a basis of moving forward on a u.s.-colombia free trade agreement. and this represents a potential $1 billion of exports, our exports, and could mean thousands of jobs for workers here in the united states. after meeting with president mart nelle of panama, president obama said that he is confident now that a free trade agreement would be good for our country, would create jobs here in the united states and open up new markets with potential for billions of dollars for cross-border trade. the president's principal trade advisor, ron kirk, just two weeks ago -- just two weeks ago -- recognized that the
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u.s.-korea trade agreement will support more than 70,000 american jobs. and he noted as well that it will result in over $10 billion in increased annual exports for the united states. in may ambassador kirk said that colombia represents $1.1 billion in new export opportunities for the united states. regarding panama, he stated the panama agreement will provide access to one of the fastest-growing markets in south america. in speaking on all three pending trade agreements, only two weeks ago, ambassador kirk said that the pending agreements with south korea, panama, and colombia are at the forefront of our efforts to open new markets. secretary of commerce gary locke in april emphasized the need to pass the u.s. trade promotion agreement through congress as soon as possible. he also said that the administration feels similar urgency to get the pending panama and colombia trade deals done. he noted that all three pending
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trade agreements will move us even closer to president obama's national export initiative goal of doubling american exports by 2015. secretary of agriculture tom vilsack has spoken on behalf of the administration in favor of our pending trade agreements with colombia, panama and south korea. on may 12, he stated the paramount reason to implement these three pending trade agreements is jobs. he went on to note that these trade agreements will result in over $2 billion in additional sales of u.s. agricultural products. secretary vilsack has also stated that until we complete these three trade agreements, u.s. agriculture will not have a level playing field, in colombia, panama and south korea. secretary of state hillary clinton has spoken on the benefits of these three trade agreements for our country. when discussing the u.s.-korea free trade agreement last month,
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she stated not only that this agreement will increase u.s. exports by billions of dollars and thus support tens of thousands of american jobs, but also that implementing the south korea agreement is profoundly in our strategic interest. when speaking on the subject of trade and economic growth two weeks ago, secretary clinton said that one of our top goals is to complete free trade agreements with colombia and panama. someone might say there is a lot of upside to these agreements. billions in new exports, billions in economic growth, and thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of new jobs. what's not to like? so i have a question: what's the holdup? what on earth is the administration waiting on? this country needs all the jobs and economic growth we can get. so why does the administration refuse to submit these agreements to congress for consideration? despite declaring the benefits of these agreements for the united states at every turn, the
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obama administration is sitting on them, hurting our economy and undermining our job growth. with respect to international trade, the administration has adopted a policy of delay and dither. i see few sides -- signs the administration is working hard to move these agreements through congress. i don't see administration officials walking the halls of congress in attempts to build support for the colombia, panama and south korea agreements. while the administration has said great things about these agreements, as i've mentioned, it is efforts to build momentum on capitol hill are tepid at best. on trade policy, the administration is all talk and no action. or as my friends from texas might put it, on these agreements the president and his team are all hat and no cattle. this is definitely a strange economic strategy. while our economy remains shaky, unemployment remains high, the
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unemployment rate at 9.1% and while the rest of the world watches in bewilderment as the united states let's other countries take over our export markets, the administration just sits there. it just sits there. actually let me correct myself. the administration doesn't just sit there. instead the administration is actually going out of its way finding new excuses for not moving forward with the implementation of these trade agreements. despite countless speeches from the president and his administration about the importance of the three trade agreements to american exports, creating american jobs and strengthening our alliances with key friends, his administration busies itself concocting more roadblocks, more delays and more excuses. it's time to be blunt about this. this schizophrenic trade policy is doing nothing but hurting american workers, hurting jobs and undermining our recovery. i believe that each free trade agreement standing on its own
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merits and with the full backing of the white house and congressional leadership will pass with significant bipartisan margins. but we are now told that we will never have a chance to vote on any of these agreements unless the white house and democrat senators get what they want on trade adjustment assistance. let's put this in perspective. our economy teeters on the brink with a weak economic recovery. one in seven americans happens to be on food stamps. durable goods orders dropped 3.6% in april. last month the economy only added 54,000 private-sector jobs, and unemployment went up to 9.1%. the real estate market remains in tatters with the average single-family home price falling by 37% since 2507. we face an historic crisis that has generated warnings that the federal government faces a downgrade in its debt rate, an action that was be devastating
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to this country and its families. leaders in congress and the administration are meeting on an almost daily basis to determine how best to get our nation's deficits and debt under control. every spending program and expenditure is being reviewed to find cuts to get our fiscal house in order. everyone recognizes that these three trade agreements will promote jobs and economic growth at a time when both are in short supply. submitting and passing free trade agreements would be a quick and cost-freeway of generating economic growth. and yet in an environment where congress is desperately attempting to encourage economic growth and rein in spending to avert a fiscal crisis, the white house and many democrats are delaying the progrowth trade agreements until we get more government spending through t.a.a., the trade adjustment assistance. and for what? if an expanded t.a.a. is so critical, where's the record of success to prove it? what evidence is there that giving some workers who have lost their jobs more benefits
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than others improves u.s. competitiveness or is a responsible way to spend taxpayer dollars? the mere fact that more people are in a program and that more taxpayer money is being spent is not evidence of success. congress does not pick winners and losers in the movie rental business. when blockbuster employees lost their jobs because of the rise of net federalism, nobody stood up and said, we should create a new, big spending program -- new, big government spending program to help displaced blockbuster employees. president reagan recognize the the problems inherent in this program when he said, "the purpose of t.a.a. is to help these workers find jobs in growing sectors of ow our economy." there's nothing wrong with that. but because these benefits are paid out on top of normal unemployment benefits, we wind up paying greater benefits to those who lose their jobs because of foreign competition than we do to their friends and neighbors who are laid off due to domestic competition.
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anyone must agree that that is unfair. that's what president reagan said. by tac tacking the expansion of t.a.a. on to the stimulus bill and refusing to allow congress to vote on the extended t.a.a. program on its own merits, it is unclear whether there is in fact bipartisan support for this expanded program. it's billions of dollars more. if the expanded t.a.a. program could stand on its own merits, then it should be introduced and voted on separately from the free trade agreements. demanding an expanded t.a.a. is another excuse to delay voting on these important agreements. it is irresponsible and self-defeating. at the same time, by not submitting these agreements for approval by congress, the administration is doing a disservice to the american economy and at the same time is letting down some of our strongest allies. nothing good can come from this continued inaction. make mo mistake about it, failure to submit these agreements is a failure in
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presidential leadership. i am convinced that the window for the administration to submit these agreements will soon pass. given the upcoming election season, i am afraid that if these agreements aren't submitted this summer, they never will be. the president needs to act. i appreciate the president's goal of doubling exports. having goals is great. we all know that if you don't do the work and take action, goals become little more than false hope. they never become reality. the president and his cabinet admit thew these agreements are essential to their goal of doubling exports and creating jobs here at home. yet the action necessary to achieve that goal and create those jobs, submission of the agreements, remains in the distant future. instead of benefiting from these agreements, we walk -- we watch the day slip by, the explanations and excuses pile up, our export markets decline, and our economy suffers. i strongly urge the president to submit implementing bills for the colombia, panama, and south
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korean trade agreements to congress this summer. there is no time like the present when it comes to encouraging economic growth and business creation. and i admit they want to help their union employees throughout the country who are less than 7% of the private-sector economy. what about the millions and millions of others who are losing their jocks, not because -- their jobs, not because of this, but because we don't export and we don't have these free trade agreements with these three very, very important countries to us, both from a neighbor standpoint and from a free genetic standpoint? madam president, i yield the floor. mr. corker: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: madam president, it is my understanding that i have ten minutes. is that correct? the presiding officer: that's correct. mr. corker: and if i happen to go eight minutes or so, would you let me know i have two minutes left? the presiding officer: yes.
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mr. corker: i thank you very much, madam president. i rise today to speak about something that's affectionately known as the durbin amendment. during the dodd-frank debate that occurred about a year ago and upon its passage, there was an amendment brought to the floor called the durbin amendment by dealt with debt coast guar-- withdebit cards ant cards. this amendment had nevada been debated there. had never been a hearing on this amendment. and in the height of i think people being very concerned about the large financial institutions in our country, this was an amendment that passed. i voted against it. i thought it was bad for us as a country to allow the federal reserve to begin setting prices for specific industries, as the durbin amendment called for. but, in any event, the durbin amendment became law, and i know that numbers of people in this body have been contacted since that time about the effects of
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the durbin amendment. what the durbin amendment did was tell the federal reserve to set prices on debit cards based on incremental costs. let me say that one more time -- based on incremental covment in other words, when a business does business, there are fixed costs and there are incremental costs. and it would be like saying to a pizza company that sells speat as does across the counter that the only thing they could charge for is what went into the dough. i'm obviously opposed to price setting. i realize we don't have 60 votes in this body to just do away with price-fixing and generalize debit card. a lot of people believe that there is a problem, if you will, with an almost monopolistic-type
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atmosphere as it relates to debit cards in general. so what i've tried to do is seek a better solution than the one that has come forth. senatosenator tefort and i haved -- senator tefort and i have worked together. we've made several rerigs to the amendment. and it's been crafted in a way to bring people together. what it really does, the essence of it is it directs the fed, instead of setting prices on debit card based solely on the incremental cost of the transaction, it allows them to consider all costs, both fixed and incremental, something that anybody in this body that happened to be in business certainly would want to be the case. so, look, i know there's been a a lot of populism in this body and a lot of people have tried to rail, if you will, against financial institutions. and i know a lot of people have empathy with retailers that find
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themselves in a situation where it's difficult for them to negotiator prices, as it relates to debit cards. what this would do, though, is still leave debit cards as a regulated entity. it's not the solution i would ultimately like to see, but i think that's a solution we may be able to come to in this body. it would leave it regulated, but it a would direct the fed to consider -- to consider all costs, consider fixed and incremental costs. again, it is a very commonsense mairchlt i know there's been lots of discussions about a solution to this durbin amendment. i know it's an issue that most people in this body would like to see go away. a lot of people feel like they're being pitted, if you will, between the financial industry and retailers. i think the solution that senator tester and i working with senator crapo and others, i think the solution that we've come up with is one that meets the commonsense test.
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it brings people together around a policy, solving a problem that was created. again, without a lot of discussion on the senate floor and certainly no hearings. so i would just ask the other members of the body to please talk with their staffs about the most recent changes that have been put forth in this amendment. this is not something that's trying to stave off or keep the effects of the durbin amendment from taking place. but what it does is put a more fair structure in place where the fed can actually look at all costcosts relating to a transac. again, think about it. if you were selling pizzas in a pizza restaurant, a retail establishment, and you were told that the only thing you could do is charge for the dough that went into the pizza, nothing else, none of the rent, none of the other costs that go with operating your facility, obviously you wouldn't be in business very long. i think all of us want to see
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the financial industry continue to innovate. i think all of us see a day when we're going to be able to basically pay bills with our electronic devices and continued innovation is going to take place, which causes our economy to expand. and i do believe that this amendment has shaped by numbers of members in this body, meets the commonsense tevment i think it provides a good solution for those people who actually voted for the durbin amendment on the floor and realized afterward that what was happening was putting in place a price structure that really is not sustainable for debit cards and over time, no question, over a very short amount of time quickly is going to be very adversely affecting consumers all across this country. so, madam president, i thank you for the time. the tester-corker amendment is an amendment designed to create a more productive solution than
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we've offered under the dodd-frank debate and the durbin amendment. and i hope that all members of this body will look at this seriously. i know everybody has been contacted. this is a very contentious issue, i understand. the solution that's being put forth is being put forth, again to solve a problem, not to take one side or another. it leaves the debit card industry as a regulated industry, but it allows the fed, as it should, to take into account both fixed and incremental costs, as they look at what the pricing structure ought to be. in addition, i know a lot of people have been concerned about what's going to happen with small financial institutions. obviously, their costs of debit transactions is much higher than the larger institutions in this country. people have been concerned about the impact on them and what this would also do is give the fed the ability every two years to see if the policy that they put
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in place is adversely affecting the smaller, rural banks, the community banks, smaller credit unions, to make sure that if they are being affec being affed adversely, then they can recommend some legislative fixes to that. so, madam president, again, i hope members of this body will see this as a reasonable solution. i urge all of you to contact me personally or senator tester personally to talk this through, if you have any questions. and hopefully we can bring to an end this contentious debate over an amendment that was passed on the senate floor without any hearings, and i think all of us know is going to create a lot of unintended consequences for people all across this country. and with that, madam president, i yeef. -- i yield the floor.
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madam president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. whitehouse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: may i request that the pending quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, madam president. we are discussing the federal budget here in washington on a nonstop basis. and one thing that seems very noteworthy is that instead of working to create jobs to help grow the economy out of the recession, republicans are still trying to end medicare as we know it, as it has been relied on for generations of americans, to pay for tax cuts for millionaires. this is the "wall street journal" describing the republicans' plan to essentially end medicare. the republican plan to end medicare would put insurance
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company officials between seniors and their doctors. you no longer have a claim to the individual benefit under their plan. you get a voucher that goes to the insurance company, and you're at the mercy of the insurance company. that would raise -- first of all, they raise drug costs for seniors from day one by repealing the repair that we did to the doughnut hole. and then of course ten years out you're left at the mercy of private insurance companies. and the effect of that is that on average seniors will pay nearly $6,400 more out of pocket every year as a result of this republican plan.
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now, rhode island has a lot of seniors, and i don't know of a lot who have an additional $6,359 every year to spend on health care costs that would no longer be covered. it's worth noting that one of the first thing that happens when you take the dollar that goes to medicare and give it to private insurance companies instead is that the 2% or 3% administrative costs that medicare takes out which leaves you, let's say, $97 cents of the $1 to pay for health care, that jumps to between 15% and 25%, leaving you only 85 cents to 75 cents of your $1 to pay for health care because the private care is so inefficient and eats up administrative costs for
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salaries and quarreling with doctors about payment and all of that. and they don't even use this to reduce the deficit in a significant way. the savings achieved by ending medicare and raising seniors' health care costs by nearly $6,400 every year out of pocket are being used to pay for guess what? more tax cuts for america's millionaires and billionaires. every 33 seniors who have to pay that extra $6,400 will add up to one millionaire's $200,000 bonus tax break. the republican budget makes average cuts of $165 billion per year in medicare between 2022 and 2030, and that gives $131 billion in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, big
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corporations and big oil. $165 billion out of seniors' pockets, $131 billion to millionaires, billionaires, big corporations and big oil. we think it's time for our colleagues to get serious about creating jobs to grow our economy out of this recession and to abandon their attempts to ram through a clearly ideological agenda against medicare, indeed that ends medicare and helps the nation's very wealthiest at the expense of seniors and the middle class. let me talk just for a minute about where we are in the tax code with our wealthiest versus seniors and the middle class. clearly we agree that we have to bring our finances into balance. clearly we have to avoid a debt limit failure that causes a default by our country for the first time in its history. eliminating unnecessary spending should be part of the federal
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balancing equation. indeed, through multiple appropriations bills this year, we've pared back billions of dollars in federal spending, and we will do more. but bipartisan consensus seems to end here when we move to the revenue side of the federal budget. just last week republicans filibustered a measure that would have ended $21 billion in unnecessary tax breaks for the largest oil and gas companies in the world. companies that have been enjoying record multibillion-dollar profits and do not need continuing support for the american taxpayer. that made the republican message clear, in balancing the budget, closing tax loopholes and repealing corporate subsidies is not on the table. the deficit, they at the time us, and the debt are the most important problems facing the country but evidently they are less important than protecting
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tax subsidies for big oil. that is what their vote proves. they'll cut education, police protection, health care, job training and environmental protection, but won't touch tax subsidies for large corporations or for millionaires and billionaires. so there's a basic question underlying all this, and that is are the superrich paying their fair snare each year the -- their fair share? each year the internal revenue service publishes a report that details the taxes paid by the highest earning 400 americans. i gave a speech a few weeks ago showing from what was then the most recent data that in 2007 these super-high income earners, earning neared a third of $1 billion each in one year, paid a lower tax rate than an average hospital orderly, pushing her cart down the halls of a hospital in rhode island.
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i showed the helmsley building in new york, big enough to have its own zip code because we know from i.r.s. information gathered by zip code that the wealthy and successful occupants of this building actually paid a 14.7% total federal tax rate. there's the building. there's the helmsley building in new york, and the people who live there do very well. they're very successful, which is wonderful. that's the american way. they are very well compensated. that too is the american way. but what's different is that they actually paid a 14.7% total federal tax rate, which is lower than the average new york janitor or door man or security guard pays. if averages hold, the very successful and well-off inhabitants of this building are paying a significantly lower tax
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rate to the federal government than the doorman who works for them, than the security guard who keeps an eye out for their security, than the janitors who lean up the halls. -- who clean up the halls. the most recent i.r.s. report is out about the top 400 from 2008. so let's take a look at that information. the top 400 incomes in america in 2008 had an average income each in that one year of $270 million. that's a pretty good year when you can make more than $225 million in a single year. that is really the american dream big time. but what they actually paid in taxes, those 400, on average was a rate of 18.2%. that's their total federal tax rate, all the taxes put in.
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what did they actually pay? not what the nominal rate is but what did they actually pay. the i.r.s. calculated this on average. this is not an estimate. this is the i.r.s.'s calculation. so although we spend a lot of time debating around here whether the top income tax rate for the wealthy should be 35% or 39.6%, folks, that's not what they pay. the tax code is filled with special provisions that tend to either exclusively or disproportionately benefit the wealthy. so the top 400 income earners in the country pay an average tax rate of 18.2%. so who else pays an 18.2% tax rate in this country? well, if you're a single filer, you hit 18.2% when your salary gets to $39,350. when you're making $39,350, your
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federal taxes -- income and withholding payroll taxes -- combine to 18.2%, just like the 400 millionaires and billionaires who made actually over $225 million in the same year that this taxpayer would have made less than $45,000. what does that equate to in terms of jobs? the bureau of labor statistics for the providence, rhode island, labor market says that on average, a truck driver will earn about $40,200. at that income point, $40,200, that average truck driver is paying the same tax rate as the 400 biggest income earners in the country. they each earned over $225 million. they paid 18.2%.
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the truck driver earns $40,000, paying 18.2%, maybe a little over. if that truck driver gets a raise or if he or she decides they're going to work a second job at night and increase their income a little bit, guess what? they would then be paying a higher tax rate than those 400 superhigh-income earners. the highest income earners pay a rate far below what people who think their average income earners actually pay. and of course tax inequality extends beyond individuals. at a time when household budgets are strained, profitable corporations are paying about their lowest share of federal revenue in 35 years. if you go back to 1935, you see that regular americans and
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corporate america evenly split the responsibility to fund our country's obligations to pay for america's expenses. then in each of these following years, the ratio between what corporations pay in revenues to the government versus what individuals pay broke through these ratio levels. by 1948 individuals were paying twice as much in revenues to the federal government than corporations. by 1971, regular humans, regular americans were paying three times as much of the revenues of the united states of america, as corporations were. 1981 it broke through four to one, for every dollar that an american taxpayer paid to support this country, corporations kicked in a quarter. in 2009, it broke through six to
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one, meaning that the average american, the ordinary taxpayer, the individual human being, puts in $6 of revenue to support this country for every $1 that corporate america contributes. so when people say how overtaxed corporate america is, it is worth looking at this record of ever-diminishing contribution by america's corporate community to our nation's revenues. and of course the republican filibuster of our efforts to strip big oil subsidies that would have put $21 billion back into taxpayers' pockets or reduced the debt and the deficit by $21 billion is noteworthy in this light. even against this rapid decline in corporate tax support for american government compared to a huge run-up in what individual americans pay, our colleagues on the other saoeupl insist on --
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other saoeupl insist on continuing to support tax subsidies for big oil while they're making the biggest profits any corporation has ever made. let's now look at another -- we looked at the helmsley building a minute ago. let's look at a different building here. let me take these down for a moment. let's look at a picture that our budget committee chairman, kent conrad, uses. this was taken in the cayman islands. it's a relatively nondid he script building -- none did he script building, except over 18,000 corporations claim this building right here as the place they are doing building out of. 18,000 corporations; really? do we think 18,000 corporations are doing real business out of that building?
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as chairman conrad has pointed out, the only business going on in that building is funny business; monkey business with the u.s. tax code. this is estimated to cost us as much as $100 billion every year. and for every one of those $100 billion lost to the tax cheaters hiding down there in the cayman islands, honest tax-paying americans and honest tax-paying american corporations have to pay an extra dollar or more to make up the difference. we recently voted for a continuing resolution to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, and in it i supported and my colleagues supported belt-tightening across many agencies and programs, including even cuts in the accounts that fund senators' offices. so we're not against cuts but serious people understand that we can't just cut our way back to a balanced budget. there simply isn't enough to cut. not since 1960, more than half a
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century ago, have we had a balanced budget at the revenue levels as percent of g.d.p. that the republican-proposed budget. when our tax system permits billionaires to pay lower tax rates than truck drivers, and allows some of the most profitable corporations in the world to pay little or no taxes at all, even if we had no budget deficits, fairness and equality would demand that we address these preposterous discrepancies. our budget order brings new attention to the order. i hope that my republican colleagues will revisit the potential to significantly cut the deficit by addressing tax loopholes, tax gimmicks, tax
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subsidies, and the daily injustice to the ordinary taxpayer when the wealthiest and highest-income americans pay tax rates that are the equivalent to an ordinary truck driver in rhode island. and your basic lawyer or realtor or doctor are paying rates far, far higher than the super, superrich. i see that other colleagues have come to the floor, so i will yield the floor to them and appreciate very much the attention that has been paid to these remarks. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: with
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some reservation, the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, there's a prohibition in the u.s. constitution from cruel and unusual punishment, and the fact that you would be presiding in the chair when i am going to be speaking on an amendment which you are offering is truly cruel and unusual, and i'm going to inflict it anyway. i will try to be as gentle as i can in the process. very briefly, i want to thank the senator from rhode island for his comments on the tax code and the need that we have in this country to address taxes in a responsible, humane, and i would add progressive way. i think he has made the point overed and over again, which i will make myself in just a few moments, and i think the senator from vermont may follow me, but before i'd like to address what is known affectionately as the
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tester-corker amendment, which was brought up on the floor earlier this morning by senator corker of tennessee, one year ago -- to be more specific, about 11 months, we had a big debate on the floor of the senate about wall street. what are we going to do about wall street and the practices on wall street which hurt our economy? especially we were worried about the last recession and some of the things that happened on wall street at the biggest banks and bifght insurance companies that hurt americans across the board, that reduced the value of your savings and caused us, as a congress, with president bush's cooperation, to pass a basic bailout bill, sending billions of dollars to these banks that had made stupid, reckless decisions that recognidecisionse economy and try to save them from go under. think about that.
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here are the biggest cooperations in the united states that made terrible decisions -- some would say failed -- which harmed our overall comirks harmed individual families and businesses across the board, and then as they were about to sink out of sight, they said, you've got to saves, send us taxpayers' money. i will tell you is i voted for that. i am not proud or happy with that situation, but when the chairman of the federal reserve and the secretary of the treasury come and say to you, as they did to us, this could be a catastrophe equal to the great depression, if you don't do something, i thought to myself, this violates every value that i have about these wall street financiers and the way they operate, but i can't let the moron economy go down. and i -- but i can't let the american economy go down. and i think several on this side of the aisle felt that way.
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hoh how did they reward us? what was the "thank you" dhard they sent to the taxpayers of america? they gave themselves bonuses, multimillion-dollar bonuses. these same banks in their reckless stupid tirks driveling us into a recession, bailed out by taxpayers, then came back and announced they were giving each other rewards for great performance, millions of dollars -- it final lindhed up being billions of dollars -- it finally ended up being billions of dollars, to these big banks. outrangeous. so last year we sat down with the dodd-frank bill and said we're going to change some of the rules you play by up in wall street so you never have a chance to do this to america again. we went through a broad array of things that we considered. one of the things that we considered affects every -- virtually every single american and that's the use of something called a debit card.
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you may not think twice about it, but for those of us who've been around a little whiecialtion there was a time when we had cash in your wall street in ain your wallet and a checkbook. then came credit cards and this new invention called a debit card. a debit card is basically a plastic check. when you swipe that debit card for a transaction, money comes out of your checking account and pays the merchant you're doing business with. it's a great convenience. i use them now, i think, more than half of purchases across america are used to using debit cards and credit cards every day. but at the same time that there was this growth in the debit card use across america, something else was happening that was entirely invisible to the public. each time that a debit card was swiped, the banks ended up taking a feesm you say, that's
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not unreasonable. they should be taking a feevment they used to collect a fee for processing checks. why wonk they collect a fee for using a debit card? except something was going on that we weren't aware of until we looked into it closely. they were raising the amount they were taking each time the debt card was used to now the highest level debit card transaction fees in the world. now the federal reserve tells us they charge, on average, 44 cents every time they swipe a debit card. in other words, if you are running a little store in springfield, illinois, and a person walks in -- and i've seen this happen -- and say, i want to buy $1.2-9d pack of gum, hands over the debit card, and they swipe the debit card, that merchant in that little store has got to look at it and say, i just lost money. i wasn't going to make 44 cents
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profit on the sale that have pack of gum. now i have got to pay that to the bank or credit card company. 44 cents. so what we did is we said, let's take a look and see what is with a reasonable charge to pay to the bank and credit card company and the federal rerks if anything, has a strong bias toward the banking dry, always has. never viewed as a consumer protection agency. came back and said, it ought to be 10 cents or 12 cents, one-third or one-fourth of what's being charged. the federal reserve, establish a reasonable, proportional debit card swipe fee so that consumers and retailers across america are not giving to the banks across this country, particularly the largest banks across this country, this windfall every time a debit card is swiped. sounds reasonable to meevmen me. these merchants had no voice in
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determining how much was going to be charged hon a debit card transaction. they were stuck with it and it was invisible and it was killing them. well, what happened? what happened after we passed this? the banks and credit card companies across america went on a war path. we've got to stop this debit card amendment. they have spent a fortune lobbying congress, working the members back and forth saying, you got to protect us. you can't let this new rule go into effect which reduces the fee we collect every time anyone uses a debit card. why would they lose sleep over 44 cents? add it up. every month in america the banks are collecting $1.3 billion from consumers across america every time you use a debit card to buy gasoline, groceries, go to a hotel, restaurant, make a contribution to the red cross or
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the middle of a disaster, pay tuition at a university. they're taking a percentage out of every transaction to the tune of $1.3 billion a month. that's why they have moved heaven and earth to stop this new rule from going into effect, which reduces the fees that these banks, over half of them the largest wall street banks, are collecting. we're going to have a vote on it this we can. it is an important vote. and it is a vote that i think will be a test as to whether or not we're going to come down on the side of sciewrntion small businesses, and retailers in -- the side of consumers, small businesses, and retailers or on the side of wall street banks and credit card companies. interesting test, isn't it? to find out where the senate is going to come down on this. i think it'll be a close vote. and it is important. senator corker of tennessee came to the floor earlier and said, we've come up with a solution. there is a new version of our amendment today which we're going to offer. some members have called it a
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compromise. it is not a compromise. a compromise suggests that both sides came together and agreed on something. there has not been any input from the retailers, small businesses, and consumers across america. the only compromise is among the big banks and bigger banks in terms of what they're going to collect on these debit cards. and i will tell you point-blank: if the purpose of this amendment was to protect credit unions and community banks, there is a way to do t we can give them moratessurances beyond what the law already says, which i think is totally adequate. this amendment doesn't even address it. what it addresses is the overall issue and the billion dollars plus that these banks want to keep collecting whoil while a so-called study goes on for another year. they want to include, incidentally, they want to include in the reasonable cost for the debit card executive compensation, compensation of
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bank officials. how much compensation do we give to those who work at the wall street banks? it turns out that last year it was $20.8 billion in executive compensation. they want to add that in, part of the operational costs of using a debit card. the bonuses? we're going to pay for the bonuses? that's a reasonable debit card cost? i want to tell you, this amendment is written for and by the banks. look for all the organizations in this new amendment and try to find one consumer group, one small business group, one group of retailers harass par who are. so the debate will ensue for the rest of this week on this amendment of i think it is a critical amendment of i hope my colleagues will stand by me and
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the federal reserve, the vote we took last year. i see the senator from vermont is here, and i was told i had a few minutes to speak. and he appears anxious, so i will make my remarks on the other subject brief and ask consent that they be put in a separate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: the sno senator from rhode island talk about the tenth anniversary of the george w. bush tax cuts. these were tax cuts that primarily benefited the wealthiest people in america. and we recently renewed them. there was a decision made to keep the economy moving forward, we weren't going to raise taxes even on the wealthiest people. but it's worth reflection for a moment about what happened when we cut the taxes 10 years ago. the promise then is the same promise now hear from the other side of the aisle. if you'll just cut taxes on the wealthiest people in america, our economy will flourish. well, it turns out that was not the case at awvment in fact,
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what happened is that we saw the economy suffer. ten years ago president bush signed into law the first massive tax cut. he said, this tax relief will create jobs. the month that the first bush tax cuts were signed into law in june of 2001, the american economy had 132 million jobs. 1n jobs. three years later we were down to 130.4 million. the economy lost jobs in the three years following the bush tax cuts. and over his eight years in office, job growth under president bush was 4.8% compared to 16.2% under president clinton. before i defer to my colleague from vermont, let me tell you one other fact that is worth noting. first, when president clinton left office and president george
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w. bush took over, we had a surplus, a surplus that was keeping the social security trust fund flush with money and growing in strength. at that time the national -- net national debt accumulated since george washington, $5 trillion. $5 trillion. when clinton left office and bush took over. fast forward eight years later as george w. bush left office. what was the situation? the national debt had more than doubled to more than $10 trillion. and the projected deficit for the next fiscal year for president obama, his first fiscal year, $1.2 trillion, the highest in history. what happened? we wage twaod wars and didn't -- waged two wars and didn't pay for them, wars in iraq and afghanistan. we added them to the national debt. and president bush for the first time in the history of the united states did something no other president had done. he cut taxes in the midst of a war, which is counterintuitive.
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you don't have enough money to pay for the ordinary expenses of government. now you've got the new expenses of war and you're cutting taxes? not surprisingly this added dramatically to our national debt. so now comes the republican side again with our economy still recovering, unfortunately too slowly, and their recipe is tax cuts for the wealthy. i would say that those of us who are fortunate to live in this great country and to have the comfort of a good salary shouldn't betkpwreupblg paying this country's -- begrudge paying this country's debts and this country's needs. i think it is part of our responsibility of citizenship. there are those who are struggling to get by in lower-income and middle-income categories that i think need a helping hand. those at the highest levels of income -- over $250,000 a year, over $500,000 a year -- shouldn't be angry about accepting more responsibility in trying to help this country move
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forward. the bush tax cuts did not help create jobs. they caused the deficit to explode and they made it even worse in terms of our inequality of income. why would we want to do that again? there are 13.09 million people in -- 13.9 million people in this country who want to work and can't find a job. millions more accepted less hours than they would like out of desperation. we should be focusing now on creating jobs in america, good-paying jobs that stay right here at home. we ought to be helping middle- and lower-income families struggling to get by. we ought to deal with the budget in honest terms, cutting spending where there is waste and misuse of funds, and then saying we need revenue on the table as well. we need to make sure that we have a bipartisan approach to this. mr. president, i will continue in that effort to try to reach that goal. but i hope that we have learned a lesson over the last ten years when it comes to tax cuts for the wealthy. they led us to the highest
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deficits in our history, and at this point i'm afraid using that recipe again will create even more economic hardship. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i would ask that the quorum be waived. the presiding officer: without objection, morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration on the motion to proceed to s. 782. the clerk will report. the clerk: a bill to amend the public works and economic development act of 1965, to reauthorize that act, and for other purposes. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: as the chairman of the environment and public works committee who watched with pleasure as we voted this bill out of our committee with total
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unanimous support, except for one -- we had almost everyone -- i am delighted that the leader has chosen to go to the reauthorization of the economic development administration. and i'll tell you why. there's really three reasons: jobs, jobs, and jobs. we know when president obama took over, he faced a situation where we were losing 700,000, 800,000 jobs a month. imagine. we were bleeding those jobs. credit was frozen. we almost lost the auto industry. we had to take tremendous steps to turn this around. i personally believe after listening to the experts evaluate what we did, that we did some very important things to stabilize this economy. but clearly this recession that we're trying to get out of here
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was the worst since the great depression. and the job loss has been severe. so it's very difficult when you lose 7 million, 8 million jobs in that kind of a downturn, you need robust job creation to get these jobs back. now we had a very important bill on the floor dealing with small business, to help small business. and that bill was loaded down with a bunch of extraneous amendments. and, mr. president, it never got off the floor. now is our chance. and i don't mind it if people attach amendments that they think are very important and we have some reasonable time set aside for those, we have votes on those. i don't have any problem with that. but we've got to get on with the business of job creation. so let me tell you a little bit about the e.d.a.
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for 50 years the e.d.a. -- the economic development administration -- has created jobs and spurred growth in economically hard-hit communities. and this bill, s. 782, will ensure that e.d.a. will continue to create employment opportunities, maintain existing jobs and drive local economic growth. we know that the e.d.a.'s authorization expired in 2008. by the way, the last time it was voted on, it was, i believe, under george bush, and it was done by voice vote. and even in the house it was an overwhelming bipartisan vote. george bush signed it. can't we get back to the days of bipartisanship, i say to my colleagues. this is the moment. a bill that has been voted out of the committee with unanimous
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consent, a program that has been in place since 1965. and we know these are tough times. all of our communities are going through tough times. most of our communities are. and the e.d.a. has worked beautifully with local communities to spur economic development. e.d.a. provides a wide range of assistance to these areas. they fund water and sewer improvements. they help manufacturers and producers become more competitive. and here's the thing about these investments. they attract state dollars, local dollars, nonprofit dollars, private company dollars, so that every dollar we put in, mr. president, to this program yields us $7 in private-sector investment. so this is the first point i want to make to my colleagues and to the american people. e.d.a. leverages federal dollars
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to create jobs, $1 of economic development administration investment is expected to attract $7 in private-sector investment. and this comes from congressional testimony in march of 2011. that's why we got such a great vote out of our committee. you're going to hear from senator cardin later who serves in a very senior position on that committee. it's rare that we have these type of votes. since january of 2009, even though the e.d.a. wasn't reauthorized, it still continued to go along under the old program. it continued to go along with appropriations. since 2009, public-private projects that grantees have looked at, say they have created
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161,500 jobs. let's look at that chart. mr. president, this is good news. i have good news today. this is a program that is working for the american people. since january 2009, e.d.a. has funded public-private projects that grantees estimate have created 161,500 jobs. and so what we bring to you is a reauthorization of a very popular program that's been in place since 1965 that has always had tremendous bipartisan support, that is working on the ground, that the local people love. and let me tell you who has already endorsed this bill. the u.s. conference of mayors, the american public w


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